Hysteric is an Australian DJ and producer attuned to digging for the crème de la crème of 80’s influenced dance music – Italo-disco, Eurobeat and house to move the modern dancefloor. His cherry-picked selections and savory edits (some garnering quite the buzz on Discogs) have graced audiences at the renowned Melbourne club Revolver Upstairs where he is a resident DJ, as well as European clubbing hotspots such as London and Berlin. Hysteric is also the man behind the wheel of Mothball Rec., a label with a colorful catalogue ranging from Italo-disco to new wave.
We are pleasured to feature Hysteric on the MIXED BY series and interview him to find out a little bit more about the driving force behind the Melbourne dance scene, and his love for music.
First off, thanks for taking the time out for this mix & interview. As a DJ who normally plays on a frequent basis, how has the last number of months been with nightlife being completely scaled back?
It’s been an adjustment for sure, but I’m trying to make the most of it.
To be honest I was expecting things might be back to normal already but that now seems a long way off.
Although I’ve done quite a few mixes in this time, I otherwise haven’t been working on music as much and instead spending a lot of time drawing.
You can see some of these here: instagram
You’ve been playing at the iconic Melbourne club Revolver Upstairs as a resident DJ with The Late Show, an event that has been ongoing for over 20 years. What special attributes do you think have contributed to the longevity of this party?
I think the overall consistent quality of the bookings and music policy.
I mean it would be easy to cheese it out with EDM for maximum profit given the southside location and the mostly young crowd, but to their credit they haven’t done this.
Melbourne is regarded as the nightlife capital of Australia, and you have been involved with the scene for quite some time. In your opinion, how has the city’s party scene changed over the years?
Strange to think about this now in the current situation. At this point I’m wondering how long it will take for the scene to recover.
Prior to COVID-19 there was an insane about of stuff happening here, if not at saturation point then pretty close. I miss the anticipation of a party coming up or hanging out to see an international.
Taking a quick glimpse at your social media pages, it is obvious that you are a dedicated record collector. What are your favourite record stores and what do you typically look for when digging?
In recent years, I’ve definitely been more about record shopping via discogs. I have a bad (and expensive) habit of impulse buying when I go into physical stores and now don’t really have much space for these kind of records.
So buying online mostly avoids this ..except for “package fillers” :) Having said that, I love record shopping when I travel as it serves as the perfect souvenir of that time. Usually my records bought while travelling have flyers/postcards/tickets etc stuffed in the sleeves so seeing this later brings back a lot of memories.
What is it about Italo disco that draws you into the genre?
Wow.. let me think
I guess a combination of non-specific nostalgia mixed with the melancholic feeling you can find in so many Italo tracks.
Also the unpolished nature of much of the music. Usually the Italo records I love the most are cheap ones with strange melodies or kitsch elements that I feel are a bit unappreciated. I try to use as many of these as possible in my sets and mixes.
Who are some of the artists, past or present, that greatly influence your approach to music?
In the early days of my electronic music journey beyond techno and house, it was I-f, TLR, Legowelt and the West coast Dutch electro crew.
Also a lot of Melbourne electro DJs in the early 2000s, many of them associated with the party Meccanoid (now sadly defunct). Beyond that Flemming Dalum has been a huge help and inspiration to me over the years.
In terms of editing, I would say Hot Tracks and Razormaid.
What’s in store for the future of your label, Mothball Record?
I have a few vinyl releases at various stages of completion, including one at about 95% done. But have decided to wait til things are more returned to normal. Even under usual conditions Mothball would only release 2-3 releases per year, each with a huge amount of work behind them.
With the exception of a few crossover releases like Plustwo – “Melody / Stop Fantasy” or Al Onzo – “Tango Japan”, most of the records appeal to quite a niche audience and it can sometimes be tough to sell the minimum required to break even.
So it seems a waste to release these now when it’s more risky if they will be successful or not.
In the meantime there will be more digital stuff: mixes/edits/etc
Walk us through the approach that you took in preparing this mix.
For me and my clumsy hands, mixes either can be fun to make and not so polished – or take a hundred attempts and close to “perfect” (ie no mistakes). I’m trying to take more of the former approach these days and enjoy the process.
Prior to Covid-19, I would record a lot of my mixes in clubs or bars I was DJing in, meaning I could use CDJs and also play a lot of my own edits.
At home I have only turntables and a very basic mixer so it’s been something of a shock to the system, but on the positive side have rediscovered a lot of great records.
Mistakes aside, I hope you enjoy the mix.
Interview by Brody